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Quince Is Hooked On PNG

By Duncan Horscroft on June 6, 2012 in News

Photo: Troy Quinlan

Almost eight years ago Bronte’s Brian Quinlan made history in Papua New Guinea by becoming the first non-native on the Kokoda Track to actually catch fish while walking the famous trail.

In April, ‘The Quince’ was at it again, only this time he was putting his piscatorial expertise to work during the 37th National Game Fishing Titles in the waters off Rabaul, about 800 kilometers north-east of Port Moresby.

This time Brian had bigger fish to fry than the rainbow trout he supplemented his team’s diet with during his time on the Track. And he proved he could handle a big game rod as deftly as he could the light equipment used in the mountain streams.

“I was lucky enough to be invited to the contest and my good Bronte mate Kerry King teamed me up with Bob O’Dea, the president of the PNG Game Fishing Association, on his boat Desperado,” Brian said.

“We sailed from Port Moresby and it took us seven days to reach Rabaul, crossing the Bismarck and Solomon Seas.

“The titles were held over nine days and each angler had two days to fish. Bob and I fished one hour on, one hour off, and I was the first to get lucky, catching a 30kg sailfish. The next day I nailed an 80kg blue marlin and because it was a tag and release competition I won the heavy tackle tagging title.

“I was also the runner-up in point-scoring and Bob’s boat was runner-up in the champion boat division.”

Brain said it was an amazing feeling to win the trophies, especially as it was the first time he had fished for either marlin of sailfish. And he said it was even better being able to release these beautiful creatures back into the ocean.

“I was very privileged to be part of this amazing contest which featured more than 250 anglers from around the world,” Brian said. “As well as the sailfish and marlin, I caught a swag of fish I had never caught before such as barracuda, Spanish mackerel and yellow fin tuna.”

As is the case in Papua New Guinea, all boat skippers in the competition had to get permission from the tribal landowners to use the waters surrounding their land.

And that was no problem, Brian said, as all the local people were so friendly and welcomed them with open arms.
“We anchored each night in the beautiful bays, surrounded by pristine reefs where the diving was absolutely amazing,” he said.

“The landowners and local village people would paddle out to greet us and the skipper would give them rice and sugar, as well as the fish caught that day, in exchange for fresh fruit.

“The people were some of the most beautiful I have seen anywhere in the world and it was an absolute pleasure being among them.

“Kerry has been living in New Guinea for many years and his company, together with Bob, his deckhand Viro and the rest of the crew, made it one of most memorable experiences I have ever had and I can’t wait to go back.”